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The Best Leopard Dress for Under $30

The Best Leopard Dress for Under $30
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You all know I'm no stranger to a great leopard print. It's been considered a neutral in my wardrobe for years (LOL at this Instagram post from 2013!) and I couldn't be happier that animal print is trending again this season. A lot of times, following trends aren't really my thing (ie: I've not purchased a single chunky velvet headband) but when something I already love is readily available then I am so ready to do some shopping. 

Let me set the scene: it's a Tuesday night shopping trip with my friend which was solely meant for her to pick up some cat food. Low and behold this perfect leopard print dress that looks like it must have actually come from Free People is just hanging on the rack, staring me down, and begging me to buy it for less than $30. Did I hesitate? 

Not for a single second. 

So here's the scoop: It's impressively well made for the price point. Great details. Cute shape. There is even a slip included. I have received so many compliments while wearing it and everyone has been shocked to hear that it's from Walmart. No, I am not kidding you. And it really is that good, folks. If you aren't afraid to go a little bold with leopard, I really can't recommend this one enough. If an entire leopard print dress feels like a little much to you, there are so many other ways to incorporate this animal print "trend" into your look. Keep on scrolling for my top animal print picks - all under $50!

Shop the look:  >>dress  >>sunnies (similar)  >>bag (this one is almost a dupe!)


Shop My Top Animal Print Picks - All Under $50!


5 Reasons To Move To Austin

5 Reasons To Move To Austin
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I just celebrated my 2 year anniversary of living in Austin & with this milestone under my belt, I feel like I'm finally in a place to give some solid recommendations on why moving to Austin could be a great decision for you just like it was for me. When we decided to leave NYC, we had so many places that we were considering moving to before our friend Jenn planted the Austin seed in our hearts. I was constantly researching information on the city and asking everyone I met who lived in Texas to tell their honest opinions and recommendations of Austin. It's time for me to share mine with you!

1. The locals make you feel right at home. Despite some of them being outspoken about their desire to keep Austin their little secret, they are kind down-to-earth people that treat you like gold. Whether you are from the south and can only imagine moving to a city if it involves great hospitality or you've had your fair share of no-one-talks-to-each-other city life (this was me!), Austin would be a great place for your next chapter. We had only been living here for about a week when someone apologized to me simply because they walked past me in Walmart. They didn't shoulder check me. They didn't run into my shopping cart. They just walked by. You should have seen the confusion on my face - and the tears that filled my eyes afterwards. 

2. There are so many opportunities to enjoy nature. Admittedly, this is something I enjoy tremendously but need to take advantage of more often. One of mine and Tyler's favorite things to do is take a drive out into Hill Country to enjoy the views from the winding roads that make us feel almost like we're driving around our hometowns in eastern Kentucky. Our first exploration led us to this quiet little dock and we've since traveled back to it multiple times as it's become a peaceful little retreat for us. Not everything takes such a drive though as there are Austin classics like Barton Springs Pool, Zilker ParkTown Lake, and the Greenbelt. As temperatures start cooling down, I'm making it a goal to enjoy more of these treasures since they bring so much peace to my soul.

3. The food is out of this world. Yes, this is coming from someone who lived in NYC for 4 years. Don't get me wrong - there are plenty of NYC foods that I miss (bagels truly aren't the same anywhere else) but the food scene is here is just unreal. If you love BBQ, Tex-Mex & unique food trucks that were so successful they became brick & mortar restaurants (there are many and they are phenomenal), then you will have a very difficult time deciding what to try next. And don't even get me started about breakfast tacos. These are the best kept secret (that isn't actually a secret) in Texas. More to come in future posts about some of my personal favorite places to but for a great comprehensive guide, check out one of my favorite sources: A Taste of KoKo

4. The winters are mild. If you do not like crazy cold weather and dealing with everything that snow brings, you'll probably like Austin. Don't listen to the people who dramatize it though - you DO need a coat. It is not "hot all year" and, in my opinion, the winter feels a little colder than it should because you do get so conditioned to the heat in the summers. However, if you love fall/winter fashion of sweaters and cozy layers, this weather will be perfect for you. If you want to make snow angels, you're going to want to schedule a winter trip up north because we don't get more than light flurries a couple of times each winter season. 

5. People actually visit Austin. If you're going to move away, it really does feel nice to move somewhere that you know you'll have friends and family come to visit. Austin brings a lot of visitors for bachelorette parties, conventions - and of course SXSW & ACL. It can be hard to start over and build a new community, but knowing you'll be living in such a fun place that your old community is excited to visit makes it a little easier. And you'll have plenty of places to take them for food and fun when they get here!

Any questions about living in Austin? Ask away in the comments below!

Shop the look:  >>dress  >>sunnies (similar & on sale!)  >>bag (this one is a dupe!)


I Quit My Job

I Quit My Job
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I did it. I followed my gut. 

and heart. 
and soul. 
and passion.
and motivation. 

I just went for it.  I quit my job. 

Has anyone else ever read quotes on Pinterest, seen an empowering post on Instagram, or even listened to a motivational podcast and felt like it was just speaking to you? I've been feeling that way for a while. I knew I wanted more. 

More creativity. 
More flexibility. 
More time with my husband. 
More time at home. 
More time to live the life I've always imagined.

I mean I just think it's absurd the way life works sometimes. You spend all this money to go to college and then get a job to pay off your college debt. You spend all this money to buy house and then you're away at your job for at least a third of the day, 5 days each week. You fall in love and find someone you want to spend your life with but you spend most of your waking hours with your coworkers. 

And there is nothing wrong with living your life this way if you are happy with it. But I just wasn't. And I really hadn't been in a long time. I feel like I've lost myself throughout the years. 

I was spunky. I was adventurous. I was brave. 

Lately I've just been scared. Longing for what I once was, how I once felt, and trying to figure out how to get myself back to that person.  I finally realized that my situation had to change. I had to take a leap of faith to de-stress and gain some clarity. For me, that was to quit my job.

Why hadn't I done that sooner? I really thought I would figure myself out and get a game plan in action (such as another secure income) first. The reality was that I was so invested into my job that my wheels were just spinning when my focus wasn't on it. I needed a break to rest, both physically and mentally. 

And that's where I am now. It's been 4 weeks and it's been pretty blissful if I'm honest. I don't have to set an alarm in the mornings which really makes a huge difference in my day. I adopted a second dog and spend a good chunk of my day at dog parks + giving belly rubs. I've watched a LOT of Gilmore Girls (Team Jess!) and I have zero regrets about that. It's been so great to just zone out and allow the stress/anxiety to fade away. I really don't think I've been this relaxed since before we moved to New York almost 6 years ago. 

But let's be real, our financial situation isn't one that allows me to do this forever. I'm grateful that my husband has been so understanding and gracious to allow me to have this time, but now that my head is a bit more clear, I need to figure out what's next. I've been doing a bit of part-time work from home and aside from figuring out how I work best in that type of environment, it's been just what I wanted. I know I want to, at least primarily, work from home/my own studio. I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I've just never quite felt like I knew exactly a path to go down. And I still don't. But I'm motivated. I've seen/read/heard from all these successful people who've built their businesses around the lives they wanted by creating a business around what brings them joy. That's exactly what I'm set out to do.

One thing that definitely brings me joy is this. Creating & sharing content has been such an important outlet for me since I first started dabbling in it back in 2012.  I literally cried to a boss in New York when my job consumed so much of my life that I couldn't maintain my site (throwback to the Opal & Violet times). I really don't know a better time than now to put the energy into this. All the excuses I've had before are mostly gone so I'm really the only thing holding myself back if I don't do it now. 

So hello, again. As a first step to rediscovering my passion, I'll be sharing here at least once each week (still need to find out what feels right for me). I'll be sharing daily (a lot of style/shopping content) on Facebook. And I'm vowing to show up on Instagram frequently (in both semi-curated squares and in behind-the-scenes stories). 

Real life. Real love. Real fashion. 

Thanks for sticking with me. For not giving up on me. For reading what I have to say. For encouraging me when I don't feel good about myself. Your page views, DMs, and comments are so incredibly encouraging and all mean more to me than you know. 

Shop the look:  >>dress  >>belt  >>sunnies  >>bandana (similar)  >>shoes

Photography by Tyler Skiles

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